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Budget Neglects More Than Half of All Charter Schools in New York State

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Fundamental Flaws in State’s Charter School Law Must Be Addressed to Ensure Equity; Politics Do Not Trump Good Policy

CER Press Release
Washington, D.C.
April 1, 2014

The New York Legislature, together with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, crafted a budget passing late Monday night that financially favors a select few charter schools in New York City rather than giving charter schools – and the students they serve – statewide equitable treatment.

“Claims that the New York budget is exceedingly friendly to charter schools are little more than political spin,” said Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform. “Some charters have been granted protections from opponents they surely deserve, and this is a good thing. But overall this budget creates a tiered system in its treatments of charter schools, and the fundamental funding inequity flaw in the state’s charter school law remains intact.”

The new state budget provides facility support that is limited to new and growing charter schools in New York City only. City schools in private facilities and all charter school students outside of New York City get nothing. This means that more than half of all public charter schools in New York state will receive absolutely no school facilities aid.

Additionally, the budget agreement contains an extension of a freeze in base per pupil aid for charter schools for another three years while spending on other public school students goes up, representing a distinct funding disparity for charter school students across the state.

“State policy needs to enact what’s best for all children, and the budget agreement passed Monday favors a select number of charter schools at the expense of many others,” said Kerwin. “Playing politics with schoolchildren as pawns like this is downright wrong and unacceptable.”

“An equitable budget treats a student in Brooklyn the same as a student in Utica or a student in Buffalo, regardless of whether they attend a charter or traditional public school,” said Kerwin. “To truly improve the quality of education in New York for ALL students, fundamental flaws in the state’s charter school law must be addressed rather than looking for band-aid solutions year after year. Ignoring funding inequities means more and better opportunities for underserved students will continue to fall prey to the whims of politicians.”